CBD to ‘trial bike garbos’

WHEELIE BIN: Tom Allen gets ready to run a new cargo bike service for rubbish in Geelong's laneways. Picture: Rebecca Hosking 196710

by Luke Voogt

Cargo bikes will replace garbage trucks in Geelong’s laneways by ferrying rubbish along Lt Malop St in a 12-month council trial.

“At risk” youth would collect rubbish from laneway cafes and businesses and take it two second-hand compactors on Shorts Pl, City Hall announced on Wednesday.

Good Cycles will run the trial after beginning a similar service in Melbourne’s iconic cafe strip Degraves St last September.

The service had eliminated hundreds of garbage truck trips and an estimated 1.1 tonnes of carbon emissions since, according to the not-for-profit group’s Geelong manager Tom Allen.

“The system in Melbourne came about because of very similar reasons to what’s happening in Geelong at the moment,’ he said.

“There have been laneway redevelopments happening in Melbourne for some time.

“Now that very similar changes are happening in Geelong they’re now looking to Melbourne’s experience.”

Good Cycles began in 2013 to teach young people to repair bikes, explained Mr Allen, a bike mechanic and trainer who moved to Norlane in March.

“We very quickly realised that bike mechanic was a very limited profession for people to get into.

“We’ve now expanded into a range of city services where the bike makes them more efficient and cheaper.”

When City of Melbourne installed compactors to replace trucks, Good Cycles “stepped in as a short haul provider” instead of cafes sending out employees with their rubbish, Mr Allen said.

The service would reduce congestion and emissions while providing employment opportunities for two to five at risk youths, he said.

“(Geelong laneway traders) have been really struggling with current waste management as far as I understand.”

City Hall hoped to begin the trial at the end of this year after community consultation in March found overall support for the service, a spokesperson said.

The program would cost $167,100, with a goal to recover an estimated $114,000, through customer usage charges and fees, they said.

Businesses bound by Moorabool, Malop, Gheringhap and Ryrie streets could sign up, the spokesperson said.

They could also transport their own waste and recycling to dump in the compactors with a swipe card, they said.

Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood said the “fantastic trial initiative” conveniently addressed bin storage and access issues in the city’s busy laneways.

“The program will also be a win for visitors, as they can enjoy all our laneways have to offer in a cleaner and more pleasant environment.”

Brownbill ward councillor Peter Murrihy said the community had “been the driving force behind this program” and that council would consult with eligible businesses to gauge demand.

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